Dear Southwestern Students,
We hope you are staying well and taking good care of yourselves. It’s hard to believe that November is approaching and that we are already well into the second half of the fall semester. We’d like to share how impressed all of the Southwestern faculty and staff have been at the way you have approached your studies this semester. You have shown incredible focus, diligence, and flexibility. You have shown up for yourselves and for each other during this very challenging time. You have made and continue to make us extremely proud.
We are writing to provide an update on the upcoming spring semester and January intersession at Southwestern.
As you probably know, the United States is unfortunately witnessing a surge in COVID cases, hospitalizations, and deaths at the present time. Experts have long predicted that the fall and winter months would bring with them a significant worsening of the pandemic, and this sadly appears to be happening. At a local level, Los Angeles County continues to find itself in the most restrictive tier of the four-tier rating system adopted by the State of California due to its having an adjusted case rate of over 7.0 (as of today, it is 8.0). The L.A. County Department of Public Health (LACDPH) has informed colleges and universities that the earliest there could be any changes to the current County orders—which, among other things, prohibit students and non-essential staff from coming to campus for any purpose—is January 2021.
Spring 2021 Semester
In light of the current COVID situation and the guidance we have received from LACDPH, we have made the difficult decision that all spring semester course instruction will be delivered remotely (this includes all courses in SCALE Periods 3, 4, 6, and 7, as well as the MBE: Skills and Strategies course in Period 8). If the pandemic situation improves significantly and government orders are accordingly relaxed, it is possible that some courses (for example, small seminar courses or courses with a significant experiential component) will transition to meeting on-campus for some portion of the spring semester. However, we must be candid that we do not think this is very likely. In the event that any spring course is able to transition to on-campus meetings, there will be an option for remote participation in the class sessions for the course. It is also conceivable, again depending on how the COVID situation develops, that some final exams will be held on campus in early May. In the event that that is not possible, final exams will be administered remotely as they are this fall.
Even if it is not possible for any courses to meet on campus this spring, we very much hope to be permitted by the authorities to open the Library and other study spaces on campus for student use. We are absolutely committed to doing everything we can to make this happen, and preparations for reopening the campus for study purposes have been ongoing for months. Should the authorities allow college and university campuses to reopen to students, we are well-positioned to reopen the Library and study spaces to students within a short period of time. We know how eager many of you are to return to our wonderful campus and we can assure you that we feel the same way.
January 2021 Intersession
All class sessions in all courses in the January 2021 intersession (which runs from Monday, January 4 through Friday, January 8, 2021) will meet online via Zoom. The intersession faculty are presently working hard to prepare an excellent online learning experience for Southwestern students.
We also have some more specific intersession course information to provide. Unfortunately, the Courtroom Procedure 101 intersession course has been cancelled. However, we are extremely pleased to announce the addition of two terrific new courses to the intersession course schedule: DUI (Driving Under the Influence) Prosecution & Defense taught by Anastasia Sagorsky ’13, a current Deputy District Attorney in L.A. County, and Perpetual Foreigners: The Civil Rights journey of Asian-Americans from the Yellow Fever to COVID19 taught by The Honorable Rupa Searight Goswami, a judge on the Los Angeles County Superior Court and the first South Asian woman appointed to the bench in California.
If you have any questions about the above, please do not hesitate to reach out to Vice Dean Dov Waisman at firstname.lastname@example.org. We wish you a wonderful rest of the semester.
All the best,
Dean Susan and Vice Dean Dov